Yesterday on his blog, Randy Alcorn answers a question from a young couple who are $100,000 in debt and wondering about how much, if any, they should be giving to the church.
The couple acknowledges that they are “reaping consequences from bad choices.” But now that they are attempting to pay down the hundred grand of student loans, they are getting different advice on where giving should fit into their budget. They ask:
We have been counseled in a number of ways on this. One is that you continue giving SO THAT God will meet your need (which is much like the “prosperity gospel” and we believe the motive for giving is not right). Then we were taught that we need to be faithful, even if the budget is tight, to give at least 10%, and that that should be our FIRST check we make out each month (even if we know we won’t make our other bills) as evidence of the priority of God and His church in our lives. We’ve also heard it taught that since we’re in debt, our money is not our own so we need to work really hard to pay that back so that our money is freed to give back to God.
I understand what you are saying about the heart of giving, but I was wondering what is the biblical approach in these situations?
Alcorn addresses many points in his answer, but here are a few highlights:
• “I disagree in the strongest possible way with those who argue that since we’re in debt we shouldn’t give to God until we get out of debt.”
• “I agree 100% with the position that we need to be faithful in our giving, maintaining it in difficult times and increasing it if we haven’t been giving much in the past. Often our lack of giving has been a large part of our financial problem. Certainly, it is never a solution to it.”
• “Debt is especially dangerous when we’re tempted to rob our primary creditor (God) to pay our secondary creditors (people).”
• “We owe the first fruits to God, not the last fruits. Those who put God first will pay off their human creditors, while those who put human creditors before the divine Creditor always get into trouble.”
• “If by giving to God we can no longer afford to make payments on a loan, then we need to liquidate our assets, take losses where we must, and cut spending to a minimum to eliminate the debt.”
You can read the entire answer here.
Copyright 2009 Heather Koerner. All rights reserved.